Heart Disease Prevention | Heart Health Newsletter

Date: 11/28/2011    Written by: Jon Barron

Niacin and Cholesterol

I recently commented that I could easily spend my entire life doing nothing but responding to silly studies "disproving" natural remedies. And in fact, the last three newsletters have done just that. Unfortunately, we now have to make it four in a row, as we turn to a study on niacin and cholesterol. But this one has a curious difference. Unlike virtually every other study that concludes that natural remedies are useless, this one went virtually unreported by the mainstream media. And yes, I'm sure conspiracy theorists will see some nefarious plot to damage alternative medicine in this non-reporting, but in fact, non-reporting, in this case, runs counter to that agenda. That argument would make sense if the study concluded that niacin actually prevented heart disease -- and the establishment was trying to suppress that information. But, in fact, it came to the exact opposite conclusion, that niacin did not reduce heart attacks and strokes -- so why wasn't that trumpeted from the rafters?

In truth, I think the answer is far more banal than conspiracy. I think the news services didn't pick it up because they found it boring. Just like a story about Tiger Woods would make headlines around the world, but a story about Andy Matthews (number 999 in the Official World Golf Rankings1) would not; stories about the ineffectiveness of vitamin E and A and  C make the news, whereas one on niacin does not. As far as the media is concerned, when it comes to stories about vitamins, niacin is on the D-List.

But in this case, the mainstream missed a huge story. Yes, the conclusion that niacin doesn't help prevent heart attacks and strokes is correct, but that's not the real story. In truth, if you actually understand what the study is really proving, it rips the facade off one of the biggest medical rackets in the world -- one that bilks gullible consumers out of billions and billions of dollars each and every year, for almost no benefit. And yes, we're talking about statin drugs. Now that's a headline worth running!

With that in mind, let's take a look at the actual study. Then we can peak behind the curtain and see what the researchers missed.

Niacin, Cholesterol, and Heart Disease

As the study itself says, more than 18 million North Americans have coronary heart disease, and despite the use of drugs and surgical intervention, both the levels of heart disease and death remain high.2 Despite all the talk of cancer, heart disease is still a big deal -- still the leading cause of death in the US, North America, and the world. And according to the medical community, elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are a primary predictor of coronary heart disease. And also, according to the researchers, a number of trials have shown a significant reduction of 25 to 35% in the risk of cardiovascular "events" when statin therapy is used. As we will discuss a bit later, this doesn't necessarily mean what everyone thinks it means, but we'll discuss that in detail a bit later. In any event, the reason for the study was to find out if adding extended-release niacin to a statin drug regimen that was already controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels could provide an incremental benefit.  As such, this study did not include a test of the ability of niacin alone to help in this regard, but merely whether or not using niacin in combination with an already implemented statin drug routine provided any additional benefit.

The trial, known as AIM-HIGH, followed more than 3,414 patients with cardiovascular disease who had used statin drugs to lower their LDL cholesterol. They then received either a high dose (1,500-2,000 mg) of extended-release niacin (Niaspan) along with their statin drug, or a placebo along with their statin drug for 32 months, at which point the trial was stopped. While the niacin-statin combination therapy increased HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowered the amount of fat in the blood better than the use of a statin-only regimen, it didn't reduce the number of heart attacks, strokes, or hospitalizations for certain other heart problems. And, in fact, according to the study, it actually slightly increased the risk of stroke. In other words, although the addition of niacin further reduced over cholesterol levels, reduced triglycerides, and improved the HDL to LDL ratio in the subjects' blood, that didn't translate into any perceivable health benefit. Interesting, yes?

As a result, the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which funded the research, stopped the study more than a year early. In an accompanying NEJM editorial, Dr. Robert Giugliano of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, suggested that, based on the results, it might be time to "retire" niacin, used as a cholesterol reducer since 19553 -- even making the suggestion part of the article's title, "Niacin at 56 Years of Age -- Time for an Early Retirement?"

"Given the lack of efficacy in this trial … and the unresolved question of an increased risk of ischemic stroke, one can hardly justify the continued expenditure of $800 million per year in the United States for branded extended-release niacin."

In any event, this conclusion seems a bit premature since prior research has shown significant niacin-associated declines in the rates of death, heart attacks and strokes -- but when used differently. All this study shows is that although niacin still demonstrates an ability to improve cholesterol numbers when used as a statin adjuvant, that improvement doesn't translate into improved outcomes. But it doesn't nullify the use of niacin without statins. Nor does it make clear whether the problem lies with the niacin, the statin drugs, or the cholesterol theory of heart disease itself. We'll return to this concept a bit later.

Medical comment on the study

On the positive side, after two years of using the niacin, HDL and triglyceride levels improved markedly in the niacin group, with a 25 percent increase in good cholesterol, a 29 percent drop in triglycerides and a further decrease (beyond what the statin drugs had achieved on their own) in bad cholesterol of approximately 12 percent. By contrast, in the placebo group, there was minimal change, with a 10 percent increase in good cholesterol and an 8 percent drop in triglycerides. Based on all assumptions the medical community makes based on the cholesterol theory of heart disease, this should have produced improved outcomes in patients with heart disease. The question Dr. Giugliano should have been asking is not whether or not niacin should be retired but whether or not the cholesterol theory of heart disease should be retired. As the theory goes, the lower your overall cholesterol level, the better your HDL to LDL ratio, and the lower your triglyceride levels, the better your heart outcomes should be. Unfortunately, the theory was not supported by the results. Instead, the trial found, contrary to theory, that the further lowering of "numbers" produced by niacin did not further reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and stroke… at all. And in fact, this lack of benefit led the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, upon the recommendation of its Data Safety Monitoring Committee, to decide to stop the trial 18 months before its planned completion.

The bottom line is that niacin did exactly what it was supposed to. The theory, however, did not. Instead of questioning the theory itself, the researchers instead opted to throw out the supplement that exposed its deficiencies.

Of course, some doctors did point out that this study actually only applies to a limited number of patients.  If you are among the majority of patients seen in routine clinical settings, where more than 80 percent are unable to lower their cholesterol levels through statin drugs alone as seen in the study, then niacin might still play a role in your treatment. In other words, the AIM-HIGH only applies to a narrowly defined patient population.

In the end, Dr. William Boden, lead researcher for the study, made a profound leap of faith, and pronounced that the most relevant observation that could be made from the study is that "in this modern era of statin therapy, we've made profound progress in controlling LDL."

Well hooray for statin drugs and bad on natural substances such as niacin.

Deconstructing the myth -- Part 1, HDL/LDL

The medical literature says that LDL cholesterol is bad and that HDL is good. In fact, the relationship is not quite that simple. The basis for understanding low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol came from Nobel Prize winning research conducted in the 1970's and 80's. It clarified the genetic basis behind the inability of some people to remove LDL from their blood. Subsequently, research began to note that effects of LDL cholesterol were somewhat balanced out by levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the body. Studies indicated that high HDL correlates with low heart attack numbers. In fact, the primary study that pointed to the benefits of high HDL was the Coronary Drug Project of 1965-1974,4 which examined the effects of niacin on cholesterol levels. It probably should be noted that over a quarter century later, niacin is still the most effective FDA approved means of raising HDL-cholesterol. Then again, niacin also lowers LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, which meant that it was unclear whether niacin's benefits come from its ability to raise HDL or lower LDL.

In any event, the AIM-HIGH study was designed to make that determination -- sort of. Because of its design, it couldn't determine whether or not niacin alone was beneficial. Nor could it determine whether niacin and statin drugs together were more beneficial than statin drugs alone in people who were "newly" diagnosed with high cholesterol. Its design only allowed it to determine whether or not "adding" niacin to a statin regimen that was already lowering LDL cholesterol provided any benefit. And within those tightly defined parameters, the study was able to conclude that although adding niacin to an already effective regimen of statin drugs improved cholesterol "numbers", it did not seem to provide any actual added health benefit. But is that a knock on niacin, since it did indeed improve the blood serum profile as promised, or a knock on the cholesterol theory of heart disease, since the theory did not perform as expected given the significantly improved cholesterol and triglyceride numbers?

Deconstructing the myth -- Part 2, statin drugs save lives

Statin drugs are considered one of the great achievements of modern medicine -- credited with saving millions of lives. And, encouraged by the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA has regularly lowered the numbers for acceptable cholesterol levels, thus continually expanding the market for these drugs -- not to mention recommendations from pediatric community to lower the age of prospective users to as young as eight.5 It has been joked by some in the medical community that we should just add statin drugs to the water supply and be done with it. (And on a different note, that is already happening to some degree.)

But do statin drugs deserve such adulation?

In truth, studies have indeed confirmed that the use of statin drugs reduces coronary heart disease "incidents" such as heart attack and stroke in populations that use them; and you would think that might settle the issue. But it doesn't! It turns out that medical researchers may have been asking the wrong question.

What is the right question?

Quite simply: do statin drugs help you live longer; do they increase your life expectancy; does the reduced incidence of coronary heart disease "events" add even one single day of life to those who use the drugs? And surprisingly, the answer to this question appears to be a resounding "no"!

Yes, the drugs do in fact lower LDL cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, research shows that lowering cholesterol usually doesn't necessarily lower heart-attack risk. According to a number of studies, patients on statin drugs reap no measurable extension of life unless they had a previous heart attack before taking the drugs.6,7,8,9 And in fact, this is the big news in today's study. Not that niacin doesn't work, because it did. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. It improved cholesterol and triglyceride numbers. The problem is that once again, the cholesterol theory of heart disease failed to perform as advertised. This is the story the mainstream media missed in not reporting the study.

In fact, the claims of success touted in ads for statin drugs are downright misleading -- even the ones that merely talk about reduced incidents. One printed advertisement reads, "Lipitor reduces the risk of heart attack by 36%...in patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease." An asterisk at the bottom includes tiny print that notes that "....in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor." This means that for every 100 people, three who don't take Lipitor will have heart attacks; while two who do take it will have heart attacks anyway. In other words, Lipitor prevents only one heart attack per 100 users.

And yet, the FDA and the medical community keep finding ways to lower the bar and shuttle more and more patients into statin prescriptions, tripling the numbers of users since 2001.

Deconstructing the myth -- Part 3, the entire cholesterol theory of heart disease

I have addressed the cholesterol myth in other newsletters and don't need to repeat the arguments here, other than to summarize the key points.

  • The evidence that connects cholesterol to heart disease is contradictory at best.
  • Cholesterol is present in both arteries and veins, and yet veins don't harden and clog up -- only arteries. If cholesterol is the problem, why not?
  • Statin drugs do lower cholesterol levels, but they don't add one single day to your life unless you've had a previous heart attack. Again, if cholesterol is the problem, why not? As it stands, this runs totally counter to the theory of cholesterol induced heart disease.
  • Niacin too lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol, but it also does not seem to extend your life by one single day -- again running counter to the theory of cholesterol induced heart disease.

Keep in mind, the cholesterol theory of heart disease is called into question, not just by me, but by many in the medical community. There is no evidence that forcing cholesterol levels down using drugs adds one single day to your life…unless you've had a previous heart attack. Statin drugs have serious side effects -- including liver damage. And keep in mind, the liver is the organ in your body that actually regulates cholesterol levels in your body. How smart can it be to take a drug to regulates cholesterol by further damaging the organ responsible for regulating cholesterol in the first place?

So, what do we make of this? What connects all the pieces together -- that explains why statin drugs "work" but don't "help"?

In fact, it appears inflammation is the thread that ties everything together. Inflammation damages the walls of the arteries -- but not the veins -- forcing the body to "repair" the damage using cholesterol-based, cement-like plaque to patch over the problem areas. Over time, with continued inflammation and continued repairs, the patches start thickening, hardening, and narrowing the arteries. Statin drugs work, then, not because they lower cholesterol, but because they reduce arterial inflammation. As it turns out, statin drugs suppress T-cell activation and inhibit the release of inflammatory cytokines that are critical mediators of the inflammation response.10,11,12 Statin drugs also help lower C-reactive protein levels -- a known inflammation marker and independent risk factor in the development of ischemic stroke -- again, entirely separate from their effect on serum cholesterol.13,14,15

In the end, cholesterol is blamed, not because it actually harms you, but because, as a key component of arterial plaque, it is found at the scene of the crime.

Conclusion

Which brings us to the final question of the day. Why would you want to use pharmaceutical drugs (statins), whose primary effect (lowering cholesterol), looks to be of virtually no benefit in preventing death from heart disease, merely to cash in on its secondary benefit (coronary inflammation reduction), when other options for reducing inflammation exist that are far more effective…and far safer? Specifically, I'm speaking of proteolytic enzymes.

For further information, I suggest you read:

  • 1. Official World Golf Ranking. (Accessed 19 Nov 2011) <http://www.officialworldgolfranking.com/rankings/default.sps?region=world&PageCount=20>
  • 2. The AIM-HIGH Investigators. "Niacin in Patients with Low HDL Cholesterol Levels Receiving Intensive Statin Therapy." NEJM. 15 Nov 2011. <http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1107579#t=article>
  • 3. Robert P. Giugliano, M.D., S.M. "Niacin at 56 Years of Age -- Time for an Early Retirement?" NEJM 15 Nov 2011. (Accessed 21 Nov 2011). <http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1112346>
  • 4. The Coronary Drug Project Research Group. "Clofibrate and Niacin in Coronary Heart Disease." JAMA. 1975;231(4):360-381. <http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/231/4/360.short>
  • 5. Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD, Frank R. Greer, MD, and the Committee on Nutrition. "Lipid Screening and Cardiovascular Health in Childhood." PEDIATRICS Vol. 122 No. 1 July 1, 2008 pp. 198 -208. <http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/1/198.full?sid=8bca43f0-172f-45f4-a479-e4bf41d286b6>
  • 6. Thavendiranathan, P., A. Bagai, et al. "Primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases with statin therapy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." Archives of Internal Medicine 166: 2307-2313. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=17130382%20>
  • 7. Vrecer, M., S. Turk, et al. "Use of statins in primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke. Meta-analysis of randomized trials." International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 41(12): 567-577. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=14692706%20>
  • 8. Hayward, R.A., T.P. Hofer, et al. "Narrative review: Lack of evidence for recommended low-density lipoprotein treatment targets: A solvable problem." Annals of Internal Medicine 145(7): 520-530. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=17015870>
  • 9. University of British Columbia. "Do statins have a role in primary prevention? A review by the Therapeutics Initiative of the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics of the University of British Columbia." Therapeutics Letter March-April 2010. <http://ti.ubc.ca/PDF/77.pdf>
  • 10. Di Napoli P, Taccardi AA, Oliver M, et al. "Statins and stroke: evidence for cholesterol-independent effects." Eur Heart J. 2002;23:1908-1921. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=12473253>
  • 11. Vaughan CJ. "Prevention of stroke and dementia with statins: effects beyond lipid lowering." Am J Cardiol. 2003;91:23B-29B. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=12615295>
  • 12. Vaughan CJ, Gotto AM Jr, Basson CT. "The evolving role of statins in the management of atherosclerosis." J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000;35:1-10. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=10636252>
  • 13. Ridker PM, Rifai N, Rose L, et al. "Comparison of C-reactive protein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the prediction of first cardiovascular events." I. 2002;347:1557-1565. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=12432042>
  • 14. Curb JD, Abbott RD, Rodriguez BL, et al. "C-reactive protein and the future risk of thromboembolic stroke in healthy men." Circulation. 2003;107:2016-2020. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=12681999>
  • 15. Ridker PM, Rifai N, Clearfield M, et al., for the Air Force/Texas Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention Study Investigators. "Measurement of C-reactive protein for the targeting of statin therapy in the primary prevention of acute coronary events." N Engl J Med. 2001;344:1959-1965. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=11430324>

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by maxwell on
    November 27, 2011 - 8:39pm

    not for the first time have i reviewed Jon's cholesterol arguments. Clear as a bell to me. What is not clear is his equally repetitive point that statins are ineffective "unless one has had an earlier heart attack". Can someone explain to me me why statins then become uisefully acceptable? max

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    November 28, 2011 - 12:36pm

    Good question. We asked Jon, and he said the answer probably lies not in the heart attack itself, but in what it means. If you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, it most likely means you already have significant damage (hardening and narrowing) in your arterial system. That means it takes very little to trigger a second incident – or to prevent, for that matter. Statin drugs would help in two ways. First, by reducing cholesterol, you reduce the waxy/fatty deposits in the blood, thus allowing it to flow better through the narrowed arteries. (This benefit is likely progressively less meaningful as levels drop – perhaps the reason that “adding” niacin to a statin regimen that had already significantly reduced levels provided no additional measurable benefit.) And second by virtue of the statins’ mosest ability to reduce inflammation, which reduces the constriction of the blood vessels. If you haven’t had a first heart attack, it probably means that your arteries haven’t narrowed to the point that these benefits matter very much. We see this echoed in the ability of aspirin to prevent second heart attacks. Aspirin improves blood flow, not by removing waxy deposits but by working as blood thinner – albeit with the unfortunate side effect that it causes micro-bleeding throughout the intestinal tract. And aspirin, of course, reduces inflammation throughout the arterial system. But then again, proteolytic enzymes offer the same two benefits. They improve blood flow by reducing the tendency of blood cells to clump together, in addition to reducing the tendency of fibrin to cause inappropriate clotting. And they, of course, reduce systemic inflammation.

  •  
    Submitted by maxwell on
    February 12, 2012 - 12:30pm

    to my horror i discovered in a recent angiogram that the narrowing in one of my cardiac arteries had reached 90% and had to consent to the implant of a stent. So for the last 5 years whilst i eschewed statins and aspirin in favour of proteolytic enzymes and garlic one of my arteries has reduced from 60% to 90% stenosis. This rattles my confidence in the non-medic alternative. So my surgeon is insisting i adopt a regime of blood thinners and statins ad infinitum to prevent clotting in the stent and further narrowing of other arteries. Big pharma has designed doses for such applications and herein lies the rub for me. I want to avoid the chemics but i cannot find a reliable dosing indicator. How many garlic cloves / ounces of ginger / mg of proteolytic enzymes would equal the effect of 75mg doses of clopidogrel, aspirin and rosovastatin? Does anyone out there know? Is anyone prepared even to comment on the problem? Hope so because i so much do not want live with internal bleeding and statin generated muscle pain forever more. max

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    February 13, 2012 - 10:04pm

    No scientific study has explained why the difference – only that it exists. But to hazard a guess, it’s because the benefits of statins are so marginal that they only show up if you’ve already suffered extreme damage and are close “to the edge.”

  •  
    Submitted by maxwell on
    February 16, 2012 - 11:09am

    forgive me but the baseline foundation response looks like the answer to a different question than the ones I posed. please accept that I understand you cannot prescribe. What I need is some guidance on dosage comparison to ALLOW ME TO DECIDE if I can set aside the chemics in favour of natural supplements - including systemic protealytic enzymes which I strongly favour. max

  •  
    Submitted by Iconoclast on
    November 20, 2012 - 11:50am

    I believe the answer is there are no dosage guidelines for natural remedies. I have the same issue as yours and also with blood thinning remedies. It's best to take the natural remedies all your life. If you start late in life or after an incident, they will not be as effective. Perhaps with blood thinning remedies, you could still have your INR checked but I'm not sure. I was taking fish oil, garlic and enzymes and my warfarin dose still need to be high to reach the proper INR level.. I think each individual is different so I can't imagine there can be reliable suggested dosages. My elderly father takes a daily 81 mg aspirin and periodically makes small cut and gauges the blood flow! It's been 20 years since his last blood clot.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    February 20, 2012 - 6:30pm

    Sorry, but for obvious legal reasons, we cannot diagnose or prescribe for specific medical conditions.

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    November 27, 2011 - 7:58pm

    My husband's MD has been trying to put him on statins for a measly 237 total cholesterol. (from what I've read, below 200 is not good!) I keep telling him, no, let's try other things first. This is very well timed for my collection of documentation-- why statins are to be avoided and unnecessary. Don't MDs ever read their own literature? Dr. Sherry Rogers, MD, Russell Blaylock and many others have been warning against statins (and promoting Niacin) for years. Why are doctors allowed to poison us. Oh...I know...the FDA being in bed with the Pharma folks could just be one reason! When will we ever be able to count on mainstream physicians, for advice on how to help our health conditions with NATURAL means first, including supplements, not toxic drugs. Maybe if we all stuck together, we could change things. Physicians are ostracized for recommending supplements, not drugs. Let's change that! We simply MUST.

  •  
    Submitted by Ejaz on
    November 28, 2011 - 2:04am

    Hi, I live in the UK. When I was diagnosed with Diabetes type 2 back in 2003; I was put on Metformin, statins and Aspirin straight away. In spite of this, I suffered from Angina in 2007 and was treated with Angeoplasty. In essence; statins didn't prevent me from developing cardiovescular disease.

    I have had a frozen shoulder as a side affect of Statin; I was put on Lipitor but to no vail. I have stopped taking Lipitor/Statin for a year now. I started using good quality B Complex 100, Vitamin E (400 IU), Chromium and ALA. I am pleased to say that my cholstrol and triglysroyd's result was really good and Doctor was very pleased with results. Although; he had disapproved the use of vitamins and minerals in the first place. I was also having diabetes related retinopathy (narrowing of fine venins); I was told if I didn't maintain a good control of my diabetes, I could go blind in a few years time. I am again pleased to say that my retinal eye examination revealed that blockage had stopped and somewhat reversed (thanks to God Almighty and B Complex that has done the job what it's supposed to do).

    The other day I suffered from Urinary Tract Infection which made my life hell by going to toilet frequently. I instead of using antibiotics started using lemons that helped to eliminate infection. I switched to Limes instead of Lemons. I will squeez 2 limes in a half a glass of water first thing in the morning (added 1 spoon of honey); I was astonished that it cured my infection completely. Thank you to advice of Jon Barron and all the marvellous work he has done curing people instead of treating their ailments.

  •  
    Submitted by Fiona McGeachie Gallot on
    November 28, 2011 - 1:41am

    Excellent, informative article which is absolutely spot-on in my opinion. Statins are the devil's work and the fact that they're STILL touted as a wonder drug after all the damning evidence against them leaves me speechless. As for their one saving grace; the anti-inflammatory action, take the universally beneficial omega 3 instead...

  •  
    Submitted by Chris on
    November 28, 2011 - 4:43am

    Article would have been better if it had highlighted the affects of vegetable oil and heart disease.

  •  
    Submitted by Frank Verdi on
    November 28, 2011 - 6:37am

    I take niacin semi-regularly (500mg, 2-3 times a week) & eat lots of pineapples. For my last 3 cholesterol tests dating back to 2005, doctors measure my HDL at less than 100 & cannot even find my LDL...

  •  
    Submitted by Elliot Feldman on
    November 28, 2011 - 8:46am

    Excellent explanation. I really like your comment, "In the end, cholesterol is blamed, not because it actually harms you, but because, as a key component of arterial plaque, it is found at the scene of the crime." Very well put. Thanks for another great article.

  •  
    Submitted by Harald on
    November 28, 2011 - 11:10am

    Horray to you Jon, for the conclusive remarks at the end of your conclusion.
    The body is indeed a more complex entity, than the piece meal analisis would indicate.
    LDL is manufactured by the liver. Where does HDL come from? It comes from the perimeter of the body and the real answers become evident, when one sees the bigger picture for what it is.
    The blood is comprised of lipids and serum, or put another way, fats and water.
    We all know, that vitamins, for example, are either Fat soluble or Water soluble.
    Since we all know, that fat and water don't mix, it follows, that we need substances for each set of circumstances, that is to say, if we expect a fat soluble substance to become useful to the body, a fat transport is required and the same goes for water soluble substances requiring a water transport.
    In the case of LDL - the liver produces it as a raw material for all hormones and cell walls among other purposes. One of those other purposes is the transporting of fat soluble nutientes AND the transporting of fat soluble waste products back to the liver, which takes these waste products off the HDL molecules, converting them back into LDL and there you have it: a similar cycle to our red blood cells transporting oxygen to the periphery and bringing back carbon dioxide to the lungs. Abmnd here it gets interesting.
    The ratio of LDL/HDL is only an indication of the EFFICIENCY of this exchange!
    Therefore, if we leave well enough alone, the body looks after itself well.
    Your mention of Phy-Zymes makes total sense, because our habits of cooking all our foods, homogenizing milk and pasturizing everything to kill what nature deems necessary for our survival coats the inside of the arteries with (largely) animal proteins and the delivery of nutrients and, above all, of oxygen becomes highly compromised. A "lean" arterial system delivers oxygen to the cells within 10 seconds, where it takes 37 minutes in the worst case scenario. This is important, because cells cannot . . .

  •  
    Submitted by Harald on
    November 29, 2011 - 3:52pm

    . . . wait that long to generate energy, so instead of using oxygenation for this they change to fermentation. This causes the formation of acids in the body and is in large part responsible for osteoporosis, because the body uses calcium to buffer the acids to prevent kidney damage. etc, etc, etc.
    So you can see, that the body is very complex, can alter some processes to survive and all systems are synergistic.
    Thank you, Jon, for your continuing efforts to educate us.

    Harald.

  •  
    Submitted by Guest Robert Kemper on
    November 28, 2011 - 11:49am

    I know that there's no such thing as an adequate one a day vitamin
    pill or capsule available, but do you have a program available to supplement the modern day lack in our food supply. My wife and I have been taking "Life Extension" vitamins along with a few other add
    on's for years, but find the program to be a real drain on my limited
    retirement income as the prices at a local health food store, are on a continual rise. I respect your knowledge on health and am seriously considering switching to a different program. Robert Kemper

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    November 28, 2011 - 11:52am

    Sadly,it seems to me that all us health concious Americans have no option but to move to another country seek "medical asylum" because if we exercise our right to preserve end enjoy health, we get ridiculed and persecuted. My child's pediatrician already yelled at me and compared my "beliefs" about vaccines to the medieval Flat Earth theory. Is a reverse Mayflower in order?

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    November 28, 2011 - 7:33pm

    I found this article to be confusing, makes me wonder just what vitamins to take.

  •  
    Submitted by Ron on
    November 29, 2011 - 4:54pm

    Sorry---
    I may have inadvertently offered an incorrect piece of information on a previous comment.
    I offered information concerning the WHO and CDC study of every medical system world-wide--which is 192 nations, "Not" 92 nations.

    The point still is, the U.S. medical system is progressively declining.

  •  
    Submitted by Catherine GarneskiGuest on
    December 1, 2011 - 3:02pm

    I have been taking smivastatin 20mg for at lest 3 years. My levels are great from my blood tests. I find the articale confusing. ARe you saying not to take the statins? and if not what do we take?? do we take niacin?? Please clarify. thanks Catherine

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    December 1, 2011 - 4:42pm

    For obvious legal reasons, Jon is neither diagnosing nor prescribing. He is merely presenting information and commenting on it. You need to work with the health professional of your choice to determine how you wish to make use of that information.

  •  
    Submitted by John Wagoner on
    December 27, 2011 - 1:22pm

    Great article, thank you Jon.
    Some thoughts:

    I have been very successful taking extended release Niacin and avoiding flushing by taking a supplement of curcumin extract that is combined with a proteolytic enzyme ( a Biomore product ) . However I had to discontinue the Niacin because it was undermining my ability to control my blood sugar ( I am a type 2 diabetic ) So I don't know how the niacin ultimately affected me, as controlling my blood sugar trumps everything. BTY from my experience ( reduced Ha1c from 9.3 to 5.7 ) nothing is more important to diabetic than lowering your carbohydrate intake to less than 100 grams a day. I recommend Jenny Ruhl's book Blood Sugar 101 for anyone concerned (or struggling) diabetics.
    I think its about time we stop talking about ' side affects ' of drugs and address the issue by calling it what it is, chronic poisoning caused by the drug.

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